Reference work entry
In the leather industry, the animal rawhide is converted into finished leather, a durable and flexible material, through a series of chemical and mechanical treatments.
The steps in the production of leather between curing (a salt treatment to prevent putrefaction of the collagen) and tanning (a treatment of leather stabilization with vegetable or mineral substances) are collectively referred to as beamhouse operations. They include, in order, soaking, unhairing/liming, deliming/bating, and pickling. All these processes are realized in chemical reactors (tumblers) in which the skins react with different chemicals (acids, alkalis, chromium salts, tannins, solvents, sulfides, dyes, auxiliaries, etc.) in aqueous solutions (Fig. 1).
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